Oscars 2015: Independent Spirit Awards

Did I not talk about these already? I guess not. They got announced right before Thanksgiving. And there was no way I’d have written them up. Okay, so we talk about them now.

I’ll preface this by saying that these awards mean nothing to me and feel compromised from the start. At this point, there are two kinds of independent film: there’s real independent film, that needs something like this to get notice, and then there’s films that were made independently, but now they have studios behind them pushing for awards. And there’s a weird mix of both here, and the studio ones always end up winning. So I can’t use this as a precursor or much of anything except a way of seeing some cool movies I never thought of seeing before.

Anyway, here are your Independent Spirit Awards for 2015:

Best Feature


Beasts of No Nation




This is what I’m talking about. Spotlight, Anomalisa — real indies. You haven’t heard of them, really. The other three, these are poised to be major Oscar players. Which means the other two have almost zero chance at getting any kind of publicity boost from these awards.

That said, I expect Spotlight to take this pretty easily based on how things are looking right now.

Best Director

Sean Baker, Tangerine

Cary Joji Fukunaka, Beasts of No Nation

Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson, Anomalisa

David Robert Mitchell, It Follows

Todd Haynes, Carol

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

They could give this to Fukunaga if they really like that movie. But they also like to try to mirror the Oscars, so I expect McCarthy to take this, unless Carol gets a strong push over the next two months.

Best Male Lead

Christopher Abbott, James White

Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation

Ben Mendelsohn, Mississippi Grind

Jason Segal, The End of the Tour

Koudous Seihon, Mediterranea

Interesting. None of these people are gonna get any Oscar love. So this could go any which way. Which means I don’t really care how this ends up. Though there usually are major Oscar players in this category, which makes it interesting. Last year, Keaton, Gyllenhaal, Oyelowo. 2013, the entire category were potential nominees. 2012, Cooper and Hawkes. 2011, most of them were contenders. And so on and so forth. So I don’t know. My gut says they’d go Segal here, but Mendelsohn is the indie darling. Attah has the most ‘Oscar’ film of the bunch. The other two could have great performances. No idea. Don’t really care all that much.

Best Female Lead

Cate Blanchett, Carol

Bel Powley, The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Brie Larson, Room

Rooney Mara, Carol

Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Tangerine

Larson is your frontrunner, Blanchett is runner up. Glad Powley got here. Mara I think is being pushed supporting for the Oscars.

Rodriguez — I knew nothing about Tangerine until these nominations came out, and then I watched a trailer, and within two hours was watching the film. That’s what these awards are supposed to do. It’s sad that she doesn’t really have a shot at winning.

Best Supporting Male

Kevin Corrigan, Results

Paul Dano, Love & Mercy

Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation

Richard Jenkins, Bone Tomahawk

Michael Shannon, 99 Homes

Dano has a good chance at landing a nomination. Elba could go either way. Jenkins was awesome in Bone Tomahawk and I’m glad they nominated him. Shannon likely won’t get nominated but will be in the general conversation. Corrigan is a nice character actor and fits what the Spirit Awards tend to do. Plus he’s really good in that movie. I imagine this is either Dano or Elba winning.

Best Supporting Female

Robin Bartlett, H.

Marin Ireland, Glass Chin

Jennifer Jason Leigh, Anomalisa

Cynthia Nixon, James White

Mya Taylor, Tangerine

They nominated an animated performance. That’s bold. Mya Taylor is probably your winner. She really sticks out in that movie. Cynthia Nixon could also win and seems to have that kind of a role, based on the little I know about that movie. The other two, no idea. Again, none of these will go anywhere near the Oscars.

Best Screenplay


Bone Tomahawk


The End of the Tour


Like the choices. Love the Bone Tomahawk love. No chance at a win. End of the Tour has a slight chance at a win, but I doubt it. Anomalisa — solid, but probably not. I say it’s Spotlight all the way here.

Best Editing

Heaven Knows What

It Follows

Manos Sucias



Could be anything, really. Even the indies. Let’s say Room, because why not?

Best Cinematography

Beasts of No Nation


It Follows


Songs My Brothers Taught Me

Beasts of No Nation winning could be a consolation prize for Fukunaga. Carol is the alternate.

Best First Feature

The Diary of a Teenage Girl

James White

Manos Sucias


Songs My Brothers Taught Me

Could be any of these. I’d imagine either James White or Mediterranea wins.

Best First Screenplay

The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl


The Mend


Rooting for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.

Best International Film

Embrace of the Serpent



A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting Existence

Son of Saul

Son of Saul is the major favorite right now. Mustang has a shot. Otherwise this could go any which way because the Oscar branch will massacre the field by the time we get to nominations.

John Cassavetes Award


Christmas, Again

Heaven Knows What


Out of My Hand

I’ve seen one of these (Advantageous), I’ve heard of another (Christmas, Again), and I have no idea what the others are. Let’s randomly guess Out of My Hand, because I have zero idea.

Best Documentary

Best of Enemies

Heart of a Dog

The Look of Silence

The Russian Woodpecker


The Russian Woodpecker. Because I’m guessing and don’t care.

– – – – – – – – – –

So those are your Spirit awards. These will happen the day before the Oscars. Which means two things — I won’t pay any attention to what happens and people will pretend like this will affect the outcome in some way and alter their picks (or justify their existing picks) because of it. It’s just one of those things. I see it every year.


One response

  1. Tangerine is fucking awesome, isn’t it?

    December 1, 2015 at 12:42 pm

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